Natural Sustainable Acoustics
We are proud to be the first ever recipients of the Institute of Acoustics Sustainable Design Award
For details on the award please visit Sustainable Acoustics
The IOA introduced the Sustainable Design Award as they felt there was a need to recognise and celebrate contributions towards building a sustainable future. Barry Gibbs, IOA President, said: “We are proud to announce Woolly Shepherd as the first ever winner of our Sustainable Design Award. The Woolly Shepherd demonstrated exceptional work within this area while also demonstrating a continued focus on improvement in the form of external sustainability audits. Their company ethos makes them a deserving winner and a valuable contributor to sustainability in the field of acoustics.”
Our approach to sustainability is deeply embedded and personal. It underpins our business practices, is fundamental to the design of all our products and motivates our service. Sustainability is not a recent addition or bolt on component. Everything we do starts from the premise of responsible business practice, respect for the natural world and a desire to promote social inclusivity and well being in our built environment. Therefore, when we decided that we needed to relocate our business to accommodate its growth, we gave due consideration to the sustainability of this decision.
The reclamation and reuse of brownfield sites is a core component of the UK Sustainable Development Strategy integrating a wide range of economic, social and environmental objectives. Brownfield redevelopment not only cleans up environmental health hazards and eyesores, but it is also a catalyst for community regeneration, particularly when communities are brought into the consultation process of site identification and restoration. Managed effectively as a sustainable redevelopment scheme, brownfield sites provide affordable housing, create opportunities for employment, promote conservation and wildlife, and offer a shared place for play and enjoyment. Above all, the transformation of a brownfield site is a vision of hope for the future.
Our current premises, at Foxes Yard in Wellington, was part of the original Fox Brothers site. The oldest parts of the site date back to 1830 and has historic links with wool production. When we first enquired about the possibility of relocating to this site, the buildings were in a very poor state of repair and were being used for storage of tarpaulin covered building materials. In the photographs below, you can see how these beautiful old buildings have been restored.
In a world filled with single use products derived from rapidly depleting natural resources and high energy manufacturing processes, the Woolly Shepherd is an industry leader manufacturing lean, high performance acoustic treatment from wool and timber, renewable and recyclable resources requiring minimal energy imputs.
Sustainability need not be a compromise: all of our absorbers are tested in accordance with BS EN ISO 354:2003 and we take great pride in quoting performance data that is at least equal to the best of our competitors products made from mineral wool and foam. All of our standard limpet products are Class A absorbers.
The idea of using wool was informed by the desire to find a sustainable use for an otherwise unwanted, low value, product. Farmers were burning fleeces as they were unable to cover the cost of shearing. The remarkable acoustic absorptive properties of wool came to the rescue, offering an economically viable use for local raw materials.
Although wool prices have risen steadily since then, we continue to use wool and fleeces from small batches that would not otherwise be viable for farmers and smallholders. As the business has grown, we also source nationally, but we only use 100% UK grown wool and remain the only acoustic product designers to do so.
We believe it is vitally important to contribute to the rural economy and most of our wool is collected and paid for in Somerset and Devon. The wool is cleaned in Bradford and felted in Yorkshire and Somerset. This feeds back into our rural economy, providing fair trade for farmers and fair pay for local people at a time when the future of UK farming is uncertain and support for local producers is vital.
Below is a short video showing our workspace and some of the stages of acoustic cloud making using natural wool and fibres.